New Court Ruling Threatens Your Right to Sell Your Used Gear, Games, and Movies

Sections: Amplifiers, Audio, Movies, Receivers, TVs, Video

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gavelOne assumes that you have the right to sell any property you own, but because of a new wide-reaching court ruling, that right may be threatened. The US Second Court of Appeals has ruled in Wiley vs Kirtsaeng that a copyright holder may control the sale of anything it owns copyright on in the United States.

In this case, a reseller was bringing in far cheaper foreign editions of textbooks and selling them to American college students. So what’s new? Similar cases have put limitations on exactly how much they can control to prevent heavy restraint of trade. For example, in the 2000s Miramax would threaten resellers of non-bootleg Hong Kong movies they owned the rights to, to stop their sale in the United States (while ignoring the fact that people who import didn’t want their sliced up, dubbed, and heavily altered versions, but I digress), but they could not stop shipments at customs to individuals from purchasing them from overseas outfits like DDDHouse.

This new ruling states that only domestically manufactured goods are protected by the first sale doctrine. What does this mean for us? It means that your electronics can potentially be banned from resale on Ebay or Craigslist, and component makers can put retailers who displease them out of business, simply by denying the import of products using their parts.

Thankfully enough parties have interest in this case (read: powerful companies with lots of lobbyists), that it’s unlikely to stand for very long. Especially threatened by this is GameStop, whose used game business has been the target of the entire industry the last two or three years as a major threat to their lifeblood, and this law is the perfect way to take them down, so you can expect that their lawyers are already burning the midnight oil preparing for the industry onslaught to come.

The most important thing, for we the consumers, is to make sure that in the appeals ruling, new laws, or any other cases, that the rights of the end-user are as protected as the producer. Once you buy it, you own it, and you should be able to turn it into a party hat if you so desire (and at the same time, the electronics companies may retain the right to deny warranty support to your fancy cranial accessory). You can read more analysis and background information here at the Electronic Frontier Foundation

Via: [ Electronic Frontier Foundation]

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